“Kidnapping is a Thing”: MSNBC Continues False Claim that DeSantis is Kidnapping Migrants

I have been writing about the claim of Hillary Clinton and others that the transportation of migrants to places like Martha’s Vineyard is “literally human trafficking” and other crimes. Despite the utter lack of legal basis for these allegations, major media has continued to air such claims. This weekend, MSNBC’s Tiffany Cross and MSNBC regular (and past writer for Above the Law and the Nation) Elie Mystal repeated the false claim that the trips constitute kidnapping.Mystal responded to Cross’ claim that the trip constitute “kidnapping” with a diatribe against “Republican fascists.” He then added

“What I believe is happening here is kidnapping…kidnapping is a thing. Kidnapping by trick is a thing. Telling people that you are going to take them one place and sending them someplace else is a form of kidnapping.”

Indeed, kidnapping “is a thing,” just not this thing.

As noted in a column this weekend, this claim was also made by Gov. Gavin Newsom.  It is legally absurd. Kidnapping requires that the culprit “unlawfully seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, kidnaps, abducts, or carries away and holds for ransom or reward or otherwise any person.” There is nothing unlawful in conveying individuals who are lawfully in the country pending their immigration hearings; the trips are voluntary, and most migrants appear eager to accept free passage to cities like New York or Chicago.

Mystal also analogized the migrants to teenagers: “Imagine Ron DeSantis goes up to a group of white teenagers, offers them some candy and says, ‘Hey, I’m gonna take you to Disney World if you get in my van.’ And then Ron DeSantis drives them to Bush Gardens.”  Such analogies are insulting to adults who elect to accept free transport to cities like Chicago or New York. These are vulnerable individuals but these trips are only being offered to adults to decide if they want to take advantage of the free transportation.

It is reminiscent of the recently deleted tweet by NBC analogizing migrants to “trash.” The trash analogy seems far worse but the suggestion that these migrants are like minors or teens being lured by candy is pretty insulting. These are adults who are clearly in desperate situations but they are not like children or teenagers unable to decide whether to remain near the border or accept a flight to another city.  Would Mystal make the same claim of being “lured” to the country to cross illegally? While there have been alleged misrepresentations, those allegations have not been proven and there has not been evidence of any systemic misrepresentations. Thus far, these transfers appear consensual, including signed or express acceptance of the free transportation. There are rational reasons why migrants would prefer to go to cities like New York rather than remain along the border given the huge influx of migrations.

Mystal has previously caused uproars for controversial claims from accusing a senator of wanting to murder Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to his continued attacks on a high school student even after he was cleared of a false race-based story. He has called the Constitution “trash” and previously stated that white, non-college-educated voters supported Republicans because they care about “using their guns on Black people and getting away with it.” He has also lashed out at “white society” and explained how he strived to maintain a “whiteness free” life in the pandemic. He also called all Republicans “white supremacists.”

However, it is the misrepresentation of the criminal law that is most concerning.  There are good-faith reasons to oppose these trips as a political stunt. That does not make them federal crimes.  The effort to bend and twist the criminal code for such political purposes is a dangerous trend. You can denounce these transfers without trying to criminalize such policies.

In legal analysis, accuracy is also “a thing.” We do not always get it right but it requires a modicum of objectivity. It is not that our personal views are not expressed in what we wish might happen. However, calling these trips “kidnapping” is to take a flight from one’s legal senses.


124 thoughts on ““Kidnapping is a Thing”: MSNBC Continues False Claim that DeSantis is Kidnapping Migrants”

  1. https://justthenews.com/government/white-house/lawyer-joe-hunter-biden-have-nothing-do-hunters-daughter-shes-never-met?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

    Neither President Joe Biden nor his son Hunter have ever met Hunter’s four-year-old daughter, an attorney claimed this week, a stinging revelation that comes as Hunter attempts to negotiate lower child support payments to the mother of his child.


    1. “Neither President Joe Biden nor his son Hunter have ever met Hunter’s four-year-old daughter, an attorney claimed this week ….”
      Do you really want Joe showering with her, too? Call it a blessing. When will folks realize the ephithet “DIM” mean “Dirty Incestuous Men”?

  2. DeSantis to Biden:
    “You didn’t see him scramble to get his Cabinet together when we had Americans that were victimized by criminal aliens that he let across the border. You didn’t see him scramble to get his Cabinet together when we hit record fentanyl deaths, which that fentanyl is coming across his open border. It’s only when you have 50 illegal aliens end up in a very wealthy rich sanctuary enclave that he decides to scramble on this.”

    DeSantis to everyone:
    “What we’re continuing to do is use every tool at our disposal to insulate the state of Florida from the negative ramifications of [Biden’s] reckless border policies,”. “And yes, that involves helping with transport. It involves suing on catch and release, which we have done. It’s involved making sure that contractors are held accountable if their facilities are facilitating this into our state.”

    “And we have a statewide grand jury that’s looking at different types of practices that may be going on in the state that’s exacerbating the problem.”


  3. “literally human trafficking,” et al. nonsense

    Why do people take seriously such absurdities and delusions? In an asylum, you dismiss them as: “There’s crazy Joe, again, foaming at the mouth.”

    1. BMan – BOTH parties support illegal immigration. At least their owners do. And each party uses immigration to score points with their respective base.

  4. Writing here from Ground Zero on Cape Cod a few miles from where a few of the migrants may or may not now be housed, here’s what we don’t know:
    — How did these aliens enter the United States and where had they been previously and for how long if they did not immediately come from their home country?
    — Are some of them — but how many — Venezuelan (those that are might have dramatically different alien status and no need to seek asylum depending on answers to the questions above)
    — It seems pretty sure at this point that they signed up for the flight in San Antonio (but how long had they been there, who was assisting them in Texas if anyone, and why the stops in Jacksonville and SC?)
    — Didn’t someone file a flight plan with the FAA, which would certainly be required for a plane ferrying 25 civilians or so? Who? When?
    — What was the alleged Biden administration DHS involvement in this prior to boarding (as alleged by a Boston immigration lawyer in Newsweek) https://www.newsweek.com/migrants-flown-marthas-vineyard-were-kidnapped-immigration-attorney-1743508
    — What does their paperwork that the Biden Administration DHS allegedly filled out actually say?
    — Where did the mostly 20 something destitute males get those $1000 smart phones?
    — How many aliens if any left on the last ferry last Wednesday night, sometime last Thursday or on the first ferry last Friday morning?
    Without these facts and the answers to about a dozen other open questions, almost every comment here and the column itself is worthless

      1. Intent is important. Their intent was never to go to Boston.

        If I got on a 90 min flight to NY, and ended up in Mogadishu, and it was clear the airline never had any intent on going to NY, then I absolutely would be considering a kidnapping claim. Wouldnt you?

    1. As far as Jacksonville goes – NOT IN MY BACK YARD!
      We’re still dealing with the Cuban Flood.

    2. Dennis, as you asked specific question, I share my takes (knowing that it completely distracts from the underlying immigration topic):

      1 & 2. Reports have it, that all/most of them came from Venezuela [1-2] to the US to build a better life, find work and help their families back home. They recently crossed the border in TX, stayed in a shelter in San Antonio, TX [3], and were approached by a woman named “Perla” who offered them transportation to Boston, MA. It’s vague if “Perla” was affiliated with either TX or FL state governments.

      3. According to a spokesperson to Governor Gregg Abbott, TX, they were not involved in these initial planes to Martha’s Vineyard, MA but they had conversations with Governor Ron DeSantis, FL and his team about supporting overrun border communities,
      Two Fairchild Dornier 328-310 Jets [4-5] with a flight range of 1,400 nm were used:

      N359SK: SKF-CEW-CLT-MVY This plane had a layover at ACY
      N411FJ: SKF-CEW-SPA-MVY This play had a layover at LBE before flying to ACY

      I don’t see other than payment reasons why they stopped at Bob Sikes AP at Crestview, FL., coming from Lakeland AFB.

      5. The Newsweek piece you quoted, originated at NYT a time earlier. There are many other media outlets quoting lawyers about legal issues, such as [6-7]

      * Elizabeth Ricci, an immigration attorney based in Tallahassee, explains there’s a “good faith argument” to be made that luring the migrants onto planes with the promise of jobs makes them crime victims. […] An enticement like that, regardless of whether you sign a waiver, is fraud and that is part of the definition of human trafficking, […] I think that everybody on those planes has a case to legalize as a direct result of being transported by the governor. […] If law enforcement agrees, it could make migrants eligible for a special kind of visa that protects victims of human trafficking. “It would be so ironic for these families to ultimately legalize and become citizens as a result of his actions.”
      * Rachel Self (also quoted by NYT/NW), a Massachusetts lawyer specializing in immigration, “We believe they are victims of kidnapping, […]”it may well result in every individual who was induced onto those planes by fraud becoming eligible for a U visa.”
      * Erin Corcoran, who represented # 45 & Steve Bannon recently: “Consent is making a decision with full information and without duress. States can’t physically move immigrants like federal immigration authorities can. They can move people around if they have them in custody. States don’t have the authority to do that. If they were told they were going to Boston, they may have actually wanted to go to Boston (e.g. extensive amount of legal resources, concentration of law schools running free or low cost representation). I would not say that this would constitute trafficking, but this kind of conduct is very similar to what you would see human traffickers do. They move people around without their consent, they [hang] their immigration status over them, they take them out of areas that are familiar or where they have connection and the ability to connect and get services.”

      7. “ICE’s ATD program uses technology and other tools to manage undocumented individual’s compliance with release conditions while they are on the non-detained docket. It is not a substitute for detention, but allows ICE to exercise increased supervision over a portion of those who are not detained. As of 8/20, there are over 3.3 million individuals assigned to the non-detained docket, many with pending cases before the immigration courts. Of these, ICE has resources to monitor approximately 5 percent of the total non-detained population, or approximately 100,000 undocumented individuals.” On a case-by-case basis, GPS, TR, or SmartLINK were used.

      I don’t know answers to all or your other questions.

      [1] On 7/11/22, DHS Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said: “As one of my first actions as Secretary, I designated Venezuela for TPS. After careful consideration, and in consultation with the Secretary of State, today I am extending that designation to 3/10/24. This action is one of many ways the Biden administration is providing humanitarian support to Venezuelans at home and abroad, together with our regional partners. We will continue to work with our international partners to address the challenges of regional migration while ensuring our borders remain secure.”
      [2] While Approx 343K individuals are estimated to be eligible for TPS under the existing designation of Venezuela those Venezuelans who arrived in US after 3/8/21, are not eligible for TPS.
      [3] Nearest border town is Eagle Pass, TX, approx. 150 miles away. Across river Rio Grande/Bravo is Piedras Negras, MX
      [4] The 30 seats planes were operated by Ultimate Air Shuttle, a private charter carrier, based in Cincinnati, OH.
      [5] “Great Circle Mapper” gives you an idea about flight path. If interested, copy legs and click on maps.
      [6] https://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/politics-issues/2022-09-18/flying-migrants-to-massachusetts-was-political-critics-say-but-was-it-legal
      [7] https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/ron-desantis-migrants-marthas-vineyard-1234594051/

      1. Sorry I do not follow your numbering system but I was not really asking any question but listing the open items that need to be cleared up under oath and or in documentation before anyone can even form an opinion on the subject

  5. Hoo boy. I just can’t anymore with the MSM. Clown show is too kind a description. I just spent the weekend in Texas and had the best time – I thank my lucky stars the truly insane and woke are too prejudiced to set foot there. What else is kind? The people I was surrounded by all weekend, pretty much without exception, and I’d say only 50% were ‘white’, though all had hearts of gold. I can’t say the same for when I visit my in-laws in L.A. county. Guess all those people in the only sate that actually *could* secede just ain’t really black, hispanic, Vietnamese, Samoan, Desi, or Polynesian. The ‘narrative’ is some straight up manure, and the people currently in the White House, House, and Senate seem to have bought all the shovels.

    The only people feeling exploited in Martha’s Vineyard are the residents that have been forced to show their true colors, and that’s on them, not DeSantis, not the fifty people that took the ride, methinks. 🙄

    1. I like your post, but I have mixed feelings about associating a clown like Elie Mystal with the legendary Bozo the Clown character. Let me explain. Bozo the Clown was a character created by Alan Livingston, who was a legend in the entertainment world. In addition to his work in programming for children, Livingston was a pioneer at Capitol Records, where he helped Frank Sinatra to reinvent himself during a low point of his career. At Capitol, Livingston teamed Sinatra up with arrangers Billy May and Nelson Riddle, and the rest was history for Frank Sinatra, where an amazing body of work was created. Livingston also signed the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Steve Miller, The Band, and many other acts to Capitol Records.

  6. Tallahassee-based immigration attorney Elizabeth Ricci explains there’s a “good faith argument” to be made that luring the migrants onto planes with the promise of jobs makes them crime victims. And that means they could automatically qualify for a visa, she said.

    “An enticement like that, regardless of whether you sign a waiver, is fraud and that is part of the definition of human trafficking,” Ricci explains. “I think that everybody on those planes has a case to legalize as a direct result of being transported by the governor.”

    This could backfire on Ronnie-boy.

    1. Yes, indeed, Governor Ron DeSantis transformed the illegal aliens into “crime victims”–but only under our esteemed Two-Tier System of Justice. I’m certain that Democrat Ricci will be chasing down the illegals, trying to persuade them to become her clients so that she can file a bogus lawsuit. That’s what illegal-alien-chasers do. But there is zero argument and zero case in a court that actually follows the law.

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